Today, Canadian-born screen and stage legend Christopher Plummer (85) was honored in the prestigious and historical city hall of Ghent, Flanders, during the 2015 Film Fest Ghent, as the recipient of the Joseph Plateau Honorary Award for his awesome contribution to motion pictures, for being such a wonderfully talented actor and almost lifelong and worldwide ambassador to his craft.
Introduced to the press by Ghent mayor Daniël Termont who described to Mr. Plummer what Ghent really is all about, emphasizing on its cultural, historical and creative assets and background, it was Festival’s artistic director Patrick Duynslaegher who gave an accurate description with an in-depth focus on the essence of Mr. Plummer’s acting skills and the highlights of his career as an actor who never pursued a film career in Hollywood blockbusters, but instead the former Shakespeare veteran stage actor became a most reliable character actor on the screen. “Mr. Plummer brought to life an amazing range of historical and mythical characters, such as Cyrano de Bergerac, Leo Tolstoy, Aristotle, Rudyard Kipling, John Barrymore, Roosevelt, and Kaiser Wilhelm II [in “The Kaiser’s Last Kiss”] which is now shooting in Belgium. In the theatre, he worked with people such as Elia Kazan and Harold Pinter, while during his film career he was directed by filmmakers including Nicholas Ray, Robert Mulligan, Terrence Malick, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, John Boorman, David Fincher and many more,” Duynslaegher said. With Mr. Plummer presenting his latest film “Remember” later that day at the Festival, Duynslaegher added that in this particular film ‘he does what he always does best: he gets deep inside into his character. His performance is so precise and sublte that we can be assured to our great pleasure that Mr. Plummer isn’t planning yet his retirement.’
In his own short speech, Mr. Plummer thanked everyone involved and for the honor of receiving this prestigious award: “I understand this award is usually given to young artists to encourage them in their quest for glory, so personally speaking, I don’t quite fit in that category, because I am a very old man. But today you made me feel incredibly young. So my thanks to all of you, and also to monsieur Joseph Plateau, un homme originale et extraordinaire. If he knew that I hold in my hand the very prize that bears his name, he would roll over in his grave. So my thanks to all of you.”
Previous Joseph Plateau Honorary Award recipients at Film Fest Ghent include Morgan Freeman, Juliette Binoche, Vanessa Redgrave, and directors Robert Altman and Paul Greengrass.
Joseph Plateau (1801-1883) was a Belgian physicist and mathematician. In 1832 he became the very the first person to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image with a device called the phenakistoscope (as seen on the award) which in 1892 lead to the invention of Lumière brothers’ cinematograph.
Film Fest Ghent, Ghent (Belgium)
October 14, 2015
© Leo Verswijver